American Elephants

Taxmageddon: A Massive Tax Hike Coming January 1. by The Elephant's Child

The Heritage Foundation has come up with a warning graphic to explain and warn about the coming tax Armageddon coming: a massive tax hike that will take effect on January 1. Congress has adjourned for their summer break (campaign time), and will presumably tackle the problem when they return. If you attend town halls or campaign events, you might discuss the problem with your representatives, or drop them a note to tell them how you feel. It’s a very bad situation, and will hit everyone hard.

The Bush tax cuts should be extended— for everyone. All these increases in taxes won’t make a dent in the debt. What is needed is to get the economy growing again, and you don’t do that by raising taxes. It is a very big deal.

We Should Have Let GM Go Bankrupt! by The Elephant's Child

On the campaign trail, President Obama has regaled voters with his summary of the 2009 auto industry bailout. “When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse and more than one million jobs were on the line, Governor Romney said we should just let Detroit go bankrupt.”

Somewhere in that statement lurks the idea than bankruptcy is a bad thing, and a company must be rescued from it. Our bankruptcy laws have been devised to help companies in trouble to restructure, regroup and recover, if possible.  Obama’s message was clear: the administration’s 2009 decision to bail out the auto industry saved it from a fate worse than death, if Romney’s position—bankruptcy— had won out. The notion at the heart of bankruptcy law — restructuring — was never allowed to happen.

The administration bailout was not applied to the “American auto industry.” it was applied to two failed companies.  Other American manufacturers : Ford, Subaru, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, BMW, Lincoln, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Daimler and Kia all of whom have assembly plants in the Midwest and South, who had responsibly prepared themselves for a downturn, now had taxpayer subsidized competition.

The idea was that the White House should step in with their own bankruptcy process, avoiding and sidestepping a century’s worth of evolved bankruptcy case law, because the White House knew better. “If the administration had treated the UAW in the manner required by bankruptcy law, it could have saved U.S. taxpayers $26.5 billion,” read a headline in the Wall Street Journal.

Obama has ecstatically claimed that GM is now Number One in sales, and on top in the world. But it seems that their increasing sales were achieved with subprime loans. The treasury still owns 500+ million shares of GM. To break even they must be sold at $53 per share. General Motors stock has been hovering around $18. (Taxpayers lose $5 million for each penny that GM stock falls.)

General Motors seems to be imploding, and Team Obama is lying about it. GM Europe is in worse shape than GM: US.

Can We Talk About Race? by The Elephant's Child

For Liberals, Race is the number one issue. That’s their ranking.  It’s not surprising. The Democratic party has a long, miserable history with the race issue, and they have a lot of guilt to overcome. That said, it’s a little tacky of them to keep calling Republicans ‘racists.’  They don’t call us that because of our history, which is pretty good, but because it is their very best all-purpose epithet.

Andrew Jackson is generally considered the founder of the Democratic party. He was, of course, our 7th president, but he was also a southern plantation owner and a major (150-300) slaveholder. His administration was noted not only for the Seminole War, but for what contemporary language calls “ethnic cleansing.” “The Trail of Tears” removed the Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Cherokee from Southern agricultural land to Oklahoma Indian territory, and a lot of them died in the miserable process.

Southern slaveholders were Democrats, Confederates were Democrats, the Ku Klux Klan was a Democrat organization and Democrats in the South resisted emancipation, reconstruction, and championed segregation. They didn’t give up politically until forced to by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and in many ways didn’t give up even then.

What you may not know is that there were Civil Rights Acts of 1866, 1871, 1875, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1991.

All of the above is a raw and unfair outline of very complicated matters.

Slavery was a timeless, universal institution. Every society, to different degrees, at one time engaged in slavery. American Indian tribes enslaved their enemies. The Kwakiutl came down from Canada in their war canoes specifically to capture slaves. Arabs from North Africa raided  for slaves along the British Coast. Galleys were manned by slaves of all different ethnicities.

Arab slave trading persisted until the 21st century. Arabs have a 1,300 year history of slave trading. In 4000 BC, Sargon, King of Sumeria, owned nine thousand slaves. In 1839, Czarist Russia had 14 million slaves. In the 17th-19th centuries, nine million slaves were brought north in the trans-Saharan trade. Saudi Arabia abolished slavery in 1962, Mauritania in 1981. More or less.

American slavery is particularly notable because we talk about it publicly. That’s what you get in a free society. We wash our dirty linen in public. If there is a catastrophe, a massacre, a scandal, or an embarrassment in our country, it appears in headlines all over the world. Worldwide, slavery is considered an American sin, not because it was uniquely American, nor because there was more slavery in America, but because we talk about it.

The horrors of the Atlantic slave trade have been thoroughly documented. The diagrams of how slave ships were packed with blacks are well known. No more than 5-6 percent of the slave trade came to the United States; 94 percent went to Central and South America or the West Indies. 3.6 million went to Brazil alone.

The first slaves arrived in Jamestown in the 1600s. Early black slaves were treated much like other indentured workers who worked out the term of their indenture and then were freed. Vermont banned slavery before joining the union. Massachusetts in 1780, Pennsylvania in 1781, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island all began in 1783.

We fought a war over slavery, and prejudice endured. We had societies of Abolitionists, and an ‘underground railroad’ to help escaped slaves on their way to Canada. Uncle Tom’s Cabin was an American book. We fought a war over slavery. My family lost two Great² Uncles on each side. Only about one quarter of Southerners owned slaves.

We have written innumerable books about slavery, made movies about slavery seen around the world. It’s no wonder much of the world believes that slavery is uniquely an American problem. Have you seen any Brazilian movies about the slave trade, or read any Brazilian books? OK, not fair, they speak Portuguese.

I intended this to be a little short piece about how the Democrats are again attempting to lower the standards for loans to minorities — Blacks and Hispanics — for home loans, as if it is prejudice that is keeping banks from making loans available. Making mortgage loans is a business, and the business of banks is to get paid back.

When politicians, intending to be compassionate, force banks to make loans that would not be made according to the rules of prudent banking — meaning it is questionable if the recipient of the loan can make the payments — that’s what got us into this financial mess in the first place. A financial mess that has been particularly hard on minorities. Compassion is not always the best guideline for fixing things.

There is a sure way to help more minorities own their own homes. It is with a healthy, growing economy. The other real assist for the poor is to help kids stay in school and graduate. Neither of these happen through redistribution of income. And it is not ‘racist’ to want the economy to grow. A growing economy helps everybody. It will help “the rich,” who are not necessarily white, a lot of whom own and operate small businesses and hire workers. Some of those workers will learn how a small business works and quit and go out and start their own.


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